We caught with Grant “GranDGranT” Harris on the first playoffs day at DreamLeague Rotterdam. The tournament is the very first LAN of the season and features a few of the teams that have gone through a rather big shuffle post TI9. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to discuss the shuffle with Grant, and find out what are his expectations from some of the teams at the beginning of the season.
Hello Grant, I’m very happy to see you here, at DreamLeague Rotterdam, the first LAN of the new season. This is the first time DreamLeague comes to the Netherlands, and the Dota 2 tournament here is actually a part of a rather big DreamHack event in the Ahoy center. Tell me how do you find the atmosphere here, how is the whole event for you?
I’ve been to DreamHack Denver, but that didn’t have a lot of games going on. But this one here is so much bigger. It’s my first time in Rotterdam and I had the time to walk around a bit and I love the city. I love the fact that the event is so busy and there are so many different games going on. I’ve talked to some of the players and they love it here. You know, you can just walk around in the arena and if you like for instance, Fortnite, whatever, you can go watch that or even play it.
We have a couple of teams with completely new rosters playing on this first LAN and I’d like to talk to you a bit about the post TI9 shuffle. Were you surprised by some of the new line-ups, did you expect some of the finest teams in the scene to make such big changes?
I really did not. I knew that the post TI9 shuffle will be big, but I think the biggest thing about it was the fact that OG won two TIs in a row so obviously something is not working for the rest of the teams. So, teams like Ninjas in Pyjamas, Virtus.pro and Evil Geniuses, they just completely understood everything of what happened. A team like NiP, who are here, kept only one player, their captain and he got a lot of young stars. He has Gunnar, he has Skiter, these players who don’t really have a lot of competitive experience, but when you have someone like Peter (ppd) to mold them, I think it will be very good for them. They actually ended up betting Liquid in the group stage here, which is pretty impressive, and it’s also funny because this new team of Liquid, they are playing together for a couple of years now.
Another big team that made big changes is Evil Geniuses, and I’ll be honest here, I’m signed by EG, but I did not see Abed and Ramzes coming at all. Abed, ok he’s played in NA before, but for Rmazes, this is his first time when he plays outside of CIS. I know that he and Arteezy are definitely friends, and I think it will be good for him to have someone that he can trust and that he will be there to help him make the transition easier. Either if it’s something like speaking English or just getting acquainted with the team and the whole cultural change. He is moving his whole life very far away from home now, and he is still a relatively young guy. So, you definitely need someone like that around to ease the whole change process.
NiP had a good run so far here at DreamLeague Rotterdam. They took down Liquid 2-0, which was a bit surprising perhaps, knowing that they lost 4 games in a row to Liquid in the Major qualifiers. They also didn’t make it to the first Major of the season and will now have to start in the Minor. Did any of the results in the first round of qualifiers for DPC events surprise for you?
I think NiP and Quincy Crew going to the Minor instead of the Major was pretty surprising because I’ve been watching them in pubs. Matchmaking a week or two ago was pretty much 5v5 teams so, I saw a lot of Quincy Crew versus EG, and Quincy Crew were winning a lot of those games, and I was thinking that these guys might be better. But all of a sudden they drop to the Minor, and now they just lost SumaiL. But, I guess we are still in a shuffle period.
As for NiP, they have Universe, ppd, Skiter, and I highly rate someone like Skiter. He is young, he is a little crazy, in a good way, he is a little bit bad-mannered, but he is really good. So, yeah, I was surprised to see them going to the Minor and not to the Major.
Taking into account how strong the EU region was in the previous season, do you find it fair that in this first DPC qualifier, they got only two slots for the Major?
I will obviously sound biased, but I think a lot of people thought that Quincy Crew were honestly a lot better, so 3 slots for NA were justified. However, after watching the NA and EU qualifiers, I don’t think either region deserves 2 slots, honestly. A lot of teams were sitting out these qualifiers, even in China. Not everyone played these qualifiers and because of that, I think it was hard to decide which of the region should get the extra slot. I think Valve took the risk and went with NA, and I don’t know if it pays off. We will see how these three NA teams will do at the Major. We have EG, EnVy’s team and J.Storm going there. If they get like top 3 somehow, then Valve’s decision will be proven right. But I think with all the big European teams coming back for the second Major, there will be guaranteed three slots for their region.
We are on the first day of the playoffs and we have the new Alliance and NiP already in the upper bracket finals, but we also have four teams in the lower bracket. Who do you think will survive and make it to the finals days from there?
It’s probably going to be Team Liquid. The other teams in the lower bracket are Demon Slayers, J.Storm, who play each other in NA a lot, and there is also Fly to Moon in the lower bracket. I think Liquid should do pretty well against all these teams. I think NiP, Alliance, and Liquid are the top three teams here, and I also think that people are underrating NiP, they can take it all here.
A last question to wrap our interview, we all kind of wait impatiently for the new big patch, but with the Major being not that far in time, when do you think it will be a good time for Valve to release it?
From a spectator’s point of view, I wish they would do it a week before the Minor. You give the teams one week to scrim, they all have the same amount of time to figure it out. Maybe a lower-tier team becomes better all of a sudden. But I don’t think it will happen until after the Major, though. I don’t think Valve will take the risk. Players will get really upset if a big patch would get dropped right before a DPC tournament, but we can only keep our fingers crossed.
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us on this very busy day at DreamLeague Rotterdam. I hope to see you again soon and if you have any shout-outs at the end of our interview please do.
Shout-out to everyone, and of course to Monster, Razor, Xfinity, all the good ones there who help me keep going and allow me to do this. And a big shout-out to the fans.